Italy is known by most people for spaghetti, olive oil, and pizza. Most think of Italy as just these things, but it is much more. Italy is an amazing country and is known for many things, but the most important of them are the spread of Christianity, discoveries and achievements in science, and major inventions. The country has made many contributions to the world and has played a big part in our daily lives. First, the spread of Christianity is one major contribution Italy has made to the world.
Italy has helped Christianity thrive and grow. The formation of the Catholic Church originated in Italy. Within the city of Rome is the independent nation called Vatican City, which is the headquarters of the Catholic Church.
To form it, Peter, who was one of Jesus’s followers, came to Rome and created the biggest version of Christianity. Christianity came to Rome because Emperor Constantine declared that it was legal to be Christian in 313 CE. When Christianity became legal, it became the official religion of Roman Empire and spread throughout Europe. This was when people were not scared of being Christian, so it started to spread (Blashfield 94). When Europeans came to America in the 16th and 17th centuries, they brought Christianity with them. Many Native Americans were taught about the Bible and converted to Christianity (Blashfield 96).
“Peter died in 64 CE. His successors are the popes, the leader of the Catholic Church” (Blashfield 94). Popes have also helped Christianity spread. The popes are the leaders of the Catholic Church. Every pope who has served has been a successor of Peter, who was the leader of the Catholic Church. The pope’s duty was and still is to provide spiritual guidance, run the Vatican City, and act as a missionary to convert people that follow other religions, like the Native Americans. They really have played a huge role in the spread of Christianity (Blashfield 94-95). The design of churches also originated in Italy.
In 27 CE, the Pantheon was a Temple to worship the gods. Later, in 125 CE, it was rebuilt to become a Catholic Church. Romulus, who was one of the founders of Rome, is said to have ascended to heaven from the Pantheon, which inspired the dome- shaped design for Catholic churches (Blashfield 100). Second, Italy made many discoveries and achievements in science.
They have studied the human body, which led to other achievements like surgeries, prosthetics, and tools for performing surgeries. In Italy, most science revolved around religious beliefs. When the Greeks came to Rome, they taught Italian doctors more about actual science rather than fully leaving things explained based on religion. This allowed the production of real medicines, which impacted Rome and the world. A Greek doctor, Galen, came to Rome and studied dead animal bodies to understand more about how they worked. Galen eventually moved on to study the human body.
Galen also came up with the idea that one’s personality and health revolved around four bodily fluids. For centuries, this idea was followed. In Rome, doctors performed some of the first surgeries on eyes to remove cataracts, which is still done today all over the world. Italian doctors also tried to find solutions to major headaches by drilling into people’s skulls. Romans made the tools to make these surgeries possible. In the ruins of Pompeii, a scalpel was discovered. Scalpels are very sharp knives used around the world to perform many different surgeries and autopsies. Also preserved in Pompeii, were forceps used to hold fragile tissues.
Forceps are also still used today. After amputation, a patient is left without a limb. Italians made one of the first artificial limbs from bronze and wood, which we have highly improved since then (Burgan). Also under the category of science, Romans have contributed to the field of astronomy. Nicolaus Copernicus, who visited Italy to study astronomy, claimed that we live in a heliocentric solar system, which we still believe is true today.
He claimed that the sun is the center of our solar system, which the world still believes today (Sider). The movement of the planets and stars helped others discover and make more, like calendars and maps. The traditional calendar consisted of 365 days, which scientists discovered when they studied the movement of the planets and stars. This was divided into 12 months. The Romans named the months. August is named after Augustus Caesar and July is named after Julius Caesar. The rest were named after gods and goddesses. The world uses this calendar every day to mark events and remind us of to-dos.
Also formed by the knowledge of the solar system, was latitude and longitude. Ptolemy invented this, giving coordinates to over 8000 places. We still use this to give locations on Earth, and especially use it to locate ships at sea. Ptolemy’s latitude and longitude maps are now used for military purposes, trade routes, and simply for everyday use (Lang).
Last, many major inventions were made by the Romans. Buildings, bridges, and roads were made and improved in Rome. Roads, which played a huge role in trade and transportation were invented by the Romans. Concrete or artificial stone was invented by the Romans. Almost all of our buildings and roads are made with concrete today. Roads in Rome have ditches and curbs to allow water to drain.
If ditches and curbs did not exist, a lot of places around the world would have major flooding issues. Arches, also invented by the Romans, led to the idea of bridges. The first bridge was invented in Rome and crossed the Tiber River. Bridges are used almost everywhere to cross waterways and control traffic.
The arch also led to the vault, which is used to support buildings so that they don’t collapse. To carry water through the city, Romans invented aqueducts. Aqueducts were the start of how water gets to our homes today. They also helped with flood control, reducing the amount of damage to the city. The Romans also made tunnels to help reduce the amount of sewage from the water. With less sewage in the water, there was less death and disease (Bunsen). Today, our water systems are based off of the Romans’ original ideas.
We have improved our water systems a lot since then, but we would not be where we are today without their ideas. Under a different variety of inventions, a lot of farming inventions and machinery were made by Italians. They were the first people to have fish farms. People would cut a tank shape out of a rock near the water and pump water into it. We use fish farms for many kinds of fish, like salmon, so we can eat them year round and not disrupt their seasons.
Romans also made the first reaper. They were used to cut ripe grain. The reaper was a cart with a blade that was pulled through a field by oxen or a donkey.
We have improved their idea by using machinery to pull it through a field. Reapers are used to pick grain efficiently to this day (Burgan). Heron was a great inventor who lived in Rome. He invented steam powered items such as toys and doors.
Heron invented the first steam powered type of engine, which used boiling water to spin a metal ball. This concept is used today with modern jet engines, using heated gases to spin a metal fan, which propels the jet. Heron also invented the world’s first vending machine. A coin would get you a cup of water. Automated machines were made by Heron, which carried small items without the need for a human. This method is used today, but with computers in control (Bunsen).
In conclusion, Italy has made many amazing, helpful contributions to the world, but the prime ones are the spread of Christianity, discoveries and achievements in science, and major inventions. These achievements have contributed to the world as a whole. A lot of our ideas have come from what Romans discovered.
The spread of Christianity has also made an impact on the majority of the world’s beliefs. Without Italy’s contributions, our world would not be the same.